A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 52

Cilantro or parsley? you decide…

Wednesday, April 29

We received two Fed Ex shipments today: a drug prescription that Emily ordered and a little lap desk to support my laptop when I’m sitting in a cushy armchair. Some masks that she ordered have not arrived—even though Etsy sent a message saying that they had been delivered. Not good, there. Were they delivered somewhere else? Are they just lost? Who knows, but our hopes are not high.

More Americans have died during this three-month-plus pandemic than died in twenty-plus years of the Vietnam War. That boggles everybody’s mind. No Kennedy, no LBJ, no Nixon–just the Donald. How will the damage to the economy and to our political system stack up?

Meanwhile, as Bloomberg and Mother Jones have reported, the Trump administration will shortly invoke the Defense Production Act to make meatpacking companies stay open, even as some state governments are requesting that these pandemic hotspots close. (Big Macs all around!)  Some 5,000 meatpacking workers have contracted COVID-19 and 20 have died, the United Food & Commercial Workers told Mother Jones. So the meat companies are worried that they could be sued by workers’ families over a failure to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The federal order would provide the companies with some legal cover against such lawsuits. 

I’m off to the grocery to get a half-dozen needed things, including walnuts, eggs, canned tomatoes, and chicken stock. We need parsley for tonight’s dinner—but, of course, the bin labeled Italian parsley turns out to contain cilantro. Often you can only tell the difference by tasting, and of course I was wearing my “disposable medical mask,” which prevented me from putting anything in my mouth. Hmmm, how would meatballs taste with cilantro instead of parsley? Maybe not so good….

In mid-afternoon, the store wasn’t crowded. There were maybe four other shoppers, a couple of counter workers, and one check-out person. Few of the goods have any prices attached, but I have learned just to pay up and not worry about it. $44.06 for ten items? Here’s the credit card.

Dinner: Marc Bittman’s spaghetti and drop meatballs with tomato sauce and a green salad.

Entertainment: Two more episodes of Occupied.

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